Taking Chances

Somebody told me that today is National Take a Chance day. It’s appropriate timing, because tonight I’m taking a chance on a person. I’m having drinks with someone I haven’t seen in over six months. Someone who used to mean the world to me. Someone who has hurt me, both through actions and inaction. I’m taking a chance on letting her back into my life, into my heart, because she’s already broken it a couple of times.

The first time, I kept it to myself and absorbed the hurt. It took a while to do that, and it never went away completely. And it changed the way I looked at her, the way I viewed our friendship. But I still loved her, I still had fun with her, I accepted her for her flaws as I hope people do for me. But it kept happening, little things that poked at me, making me wonder if I meant as much to her as she did to me.

Then I fell, big-time, and she didn’t catch me. My life turned upside down and I needed help. I resisted it from so many others but asked for it from her, and it didn’t come. It never came and eventually, I found my way to a brighter side of life without her. I didn’t dismiss all the reasons I loved her, but I also couldn’t dismiss the reasons I was hurt and angry. And I moved on. My life is full and happy. I have so many people I am grateful for, so many people who did offer help over and over. People who have been there for me whenever I needed or wanted them. People who act out of kindness and empathy and genuine love.

I got a text from her several days ago. She had a special text-tone that I’d forgotten to change, and just hearing it triggered something in me. It brought me right back to all those years when we were inseparable, when she was one of my favorite people and I (thought I) was one of hers. And to be fair, I think I was. Anyway, hearing that tone made me cry. Seeing her text made me cry. Reading that she missed me, that she was sorry, that she wanted to see me, it all made me cry. Because it made me realize how much I’d missed her company, that as much as I thought I was beyond it, I really wasn’t.

I did tell her that she’d hurt me, that I was afraid to try to be friends again. And she was willing to accept that. But my immediate reaction to her texts made me think that maybe I’d rather have her in my life than not. So I’m meeting her tonight for drinks. I’m giving her a second chance. Again. I have no idea what to expect. I’m kind of looking forward to it and kind of reserving judgment. I’m wary and more cynical now. I’m also stronger now. I’m willing and able to stand up for myself. I speak my mind more than I did a few years ago. But obviously I’m also loyal, maybe to a fault. Maybe I overlook and accept things I shouldn’t.

Are there things that are unforgivable? Is there a limit to the number of times you can forgive one person? I don’t think anyone can truly forgive and forget. The forgive part, yes, but not forget. At least I can’t. I think I know what forgiveness feels like; I’ve forgiven some things completely. But I haven’t forgotten them and don’t think I will. There are also things that I haven’t forgiven. The way I tell the difference is that remembering one doesn’t cause pain, and the other still does.

I don’t know which way it will end up this time. It probably partly depends on what happens tonight. Clearly I haven’t forgiven the way our friendship ended, but the fact that I’m willing to go means I want to try, right? Am I crazy to try?

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